A single mother of two has been “left speechless” after the council told her she could not move into a new council home as promised due to an IT error.
Tatanishia Miller, who has two young sons aged eight and eleven, one of whom is severely disabled, was told that she could move into a three bedroom council house on East Dulwich Road on the 20th of January.
Yet, after a week of trying unsuccessfully to get in touch with Southwark Council to find out her moving date, Tatanishia was told that an IT problem had mistakenly awarded her the property and that it was no longer available.
The young mum described the new home as a dream come true, as their current home is so substandard it is harming the family.
One of her sons has brain damage and makes a lot of noise at night.
This disrupts her other son’s sleep as they both have to share a bedroom in her current accommodation on Crystal Palace Road, Nunhead.
Tatanishia said her son burst into floods of tears when he was told that they were not going to move.
“I felt like a worthless mum,” she said. “It made me cry.”
The IT error occurred when Tatanishia was awarded an extra eligibility star, bumping her up on the Council’s housing waiting list.
When they tried to correct their mistake last week, Tatanishia says the council made a second error and took too many stars away from her. This she believes deprived her of another property.
“It must be a really bad system,” she says.
Cllr Stephanie Cryan, cabinet member for council homes and homelessness, said: “We do not rely on IT alone to allocate council housing, we check and verify each successful bid before making a formal offer. In this case, the automated system had incorrectly granted Ms Miller an extra star she was not entitled to. Therefore when she bid for a property, she was seemingly in first position, when in fact others had been bidding for much longer.
Tatanishia contests this, claiming that since, she works for the council, has a disabled son and is a single mother, she should be a priority on the council’s housing waiting list.
“We wrote to her explaining this, apologised for the error but made it clear that if we were to uphold the offer, this would deprive a household in greater need who would miss out on the property,” Cllr Cryan added.
“They have not justified it at all.” said Tatanishia. “The Council just keeps making excuses.”
She says she only found out about the IT mishap by chance over the phone, after calling the council every day and not getting through.
“I was left speechless. They didn’t even call me to tell me about the mistake.”
“It’s so incompetent.”
Now Tatanishia is “living out of boxes”, as a council requirement that new-tenants must move into their new property meant she had already packed her family’s belongings into boxes.
She has been waiting on the housing list since November for a proper house that can accommodate her family, over which time she has been turned down from four separate properties.
Her current house is blighted by mould, damp and drafts, as well as being far too small for her family’s needs.
“I shouldn’t have to live like this,” said Tatanishia. “I volunteer, I work for the council, I am not in rent arrears. I contribute a lot to this community.”
I am not a scrounger.”
Tatanisha has lived in Southwark for twelve years.
She currently works as a technical admin team leader at the Council, maintaining vital infrastructure, such as lamp posts and bollards.
Southwark Council has been approached for comment about their supposed second IT blunder.